Abhinav Bindra heaped praise on India's performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics where the country finished with seven medals, its best-ever tally. Neeraj Chopra's gold in javelin was the icing on the cake as it was India's first-ever gold medal in athletics.
“It was a historic performance with the best-ever seven medals. There were moments of great triumph and heartbreaks, but that is what sport is all about. We have a good momentum now going forward," he stated at a webinar organised by ELMS Sports Foundation.
The next Olympics will be held in Paris in 2024, which means that athletes will have a three-year window to prepare themselves for the next edition. The shorter cycle will heap more pressure on athletes to secure qualification, feels Bindra.
"I see the next Olympics cycle will be tricky, primarily because of the shorter cycle. Normally athletes get a year post Olympics that allows them to rest and recover, but this time around they need to get back pretty quickly,” said Bindra.
Although the 38-year-old believes that Chopra's gold will bring in a positive change in the athletics landscape of the country, Bindra has insisted that more focus should be given to grassroots to churn out future champions.
“We talk about top leaderships but I think we need to get more quality in the second-level of leadership. We need to empower these people with knowledge of how to set a high-performance environment. Incorporating science, technology, engineering, analytics and medicine to athletes’ training and development not just at elite level but basing it right at the grassroots level is important,” the Beijing 2008 Olympic champion said.
He has also called for developing the existing sporting structure at the university and college levels where the transition from the junior to the elite level will be taken care of.